Monday, January 1, 2018

New beginnings. Cuz 2018 is gonna be awesome. :)

I can't believe an entire year, MORE than an entire year, has passed since I last posted a blog. I mean... wow. This is one example of something I do - start good habits, then drop them. Whyyyyy do I do that? "The why is the booby prize." It's true. I think that if I understand the WHY, then I'll somehow be more accepting of those habits and change them? Meh... no... I think it's a way I can stall my progress and avoid change. Self awareness has hit some new levels this past year, and I'm seeing stuff loud and clear. LOL... and it's a GOOD THING.

2018 is gonna be different - because I want it to be. Not because it NEEDS to be or because I think I SHOULD.. but the WANT is there. It's time and I'm ready. Scared shitless, but ready.

I never did make my last post to give props to Anjali Gadre with Inner Bliss Studio and all she did to help me in 2016... so props come now!  Anjali is an INCREDIBLE person. Peaceful and calm, her bright energy and light and non-judgmental nature is undeniably attractive and I'll admit - I wanna be like her. For Anjali, life is an adventure and every day a gift. She lives in this way and it shows me what "being present" can do for peace and serenity. Plus, her yoga and meditation practice - I want emulate her. Her mentoring with me planted seeds that grew in 2017 into some self-care realizations and inspired me to take action in changing how I think. She showed me that I am truly an extrovert and I've been denying it, staying small for most of my life and only in these last few years have I begun to embrace what being an extrovert really means... it's not about being loud and the center of attention - it's more about recharging and gaining energy by being around other people. And for me especially, when I'm able to interact with others on a positive subject or higher purpose, I REALLY get energized!

Anjali's coaching helped me to understand what it means to accept the present and what's happening around me, even if it seems chaotic and crazy and impossible to get through. I'll never forget saying the words "... my life is about to be really chaotic.." and she replied with "Does it have to be?" and that STUCK. No, it doesn't have to be. Not ever. Only if I jump right into that energy and lose myself in the "chaos"... it's not, really, it's just what's happening right now. Staying present helps me stay in this moment and understanding what I have control over and what I don't... and not jumping ahead to solve "problems" that haven't yet happened.

2017 was a roller coaster of epic proportions. I can't begin to tell y'all how much of a significant impact Anjali had on my life - her wisdom and mentorship gave me the perspective and insight I needed to walk through 2017 in light and believing in the positive, always. She prepared me at the PERFECT time, little did I know then, and I look back and smile at the absolute perfectness of it. And how perfectly everything happens, just like it's meant to. :)

My last post was November 2016. At the beginning of January 2017 I had a major life shift... could be considered mass chaos? Old me would have seen it that way... my food truck engine threw a rod and my truck, my dream, my Evelyn, was essentially dead. Long story short, I took things a day at a time. I got support from my mentors and family and didn't give up. I accepted what was happening to me in the moment, even though I couldn't understand why. There is no good/bad, there just is... and this was what was happening in that moment.

In the 4 months Falacos was at a standstill, I was able to spend that time with family. At a precious and well-lived 90 years old, my maternal grandmother, Colleen, transitioned to the other side in February. Her actual first name, Evelyn, was the namesake for my truck and within two months, they both were gone. This was a heavy, heavy time. In March, we lost Ben's older sister Vanessa to brain cancer. She struggled for 2 years and finally got her release. Needless to say, the first quarter of 2017 was the roughest I'd seen in a long time.

My Evelyns.

Grandma's 90th Birthday, 12/28/2016

Stephen, Vanessa, Will, Ben & Marian, way back when...

The 5 siblings, together in Texas, 4/2010
I was able to use my tools from Anjali during the time to make sure I took care of me. I was a wreck, y'all.. truly. Dealing with loss of my own, trying to support Ben and the loss of his sister... it was a dark time for awhile. I'm grateful I was able to accept what was happening and see the perfect sequence of events... I needed to not have a food truck in operation during this time. I needed to have that forced downtime so that I could be with family and take life easy for a bit.

The other benefit of the unexpected business pause was the opportunity I got to review what I was doing and what was working and what wasn't. I'd been losing sight of my purpose, y'all.. I'd lost my "why am I doing this?" because I ain't gonna lie - #foodtrucklife is HARD. It's very physically demanding, especially in Texas summers. Dehydration is a serious thing! Long days are long - an 8 hour event is easily a 12-14 hour day from start to finish - and it's a non-stop hustle to keep a full calendar. During my break, I reassessed what I was doing and if I wanted to keep running it so hard... the answer was emphatically NO. LOL... I'd been chasing events for "publicity" or to "get my name out" and as a result, I was exhausting myself. It wasn't working, so it was change time. :)

Despite all the seemingly negatives happening around me, I was determined to find the light in all of it. I really believe Grandma put some of her love and energy into the rebirth of Falacos - cuz this time around, it's sooo different. I was very blessed that things worked out the way they did and I was able to get a new engine put in Evelyn. Our girl had a new heart and she was ready for my new vision with Falacos - road trippin to events!

We were back on the road again in April and this time, Falacos is all about the FUN! Working less and playing more and wouldn't ya know it? More profitable. LOL... go figure! When I stick to my purpose and stay in love and playful mode, success follows. When I retreat to fear and chasing money to cover bills, it eludes me. Hmmm... seems I've learned this lesson before, but was having to re-learn it with Falacos. So be it, lesson learned!

June was my month of wild goals, obstacles, letting go of expectations, trusting myself to know what to do in the moment and just rollin with it. Result? AWESOME EXPERIENCES!!! Only did 2 big events in June - went to Graham TX for the Food Truck Championship of Texas with my peeps Nicole & Courtney (thanks y'all for being a part of Falacos' virgin road trip!)

Courtney's and Nicole. :)
 and then took off the following week to Berea, KY for Playthink.

Evelyn in the hills of Kentucky!
During these trips I encountered "chaos" aka "all my planning didn't do me any good, had to make a new plan in the moment" and ROCKED IT. Several opportunities to freak out - produce froze, driving through wicked rain, transport truck didn't work out and had to drive Evelyn 900+ miles, coolant hose leaked and required surgery in Auto Zone parking lot, Evelyn got stuck in the KY mud,

almost gave myself heat stroke, etc - but hey, I didn't freak out! My husband and friends and mechanic and everyone who cheers me all along the way, are my core support system and without them, I don't know what I'd do... I am overwhelmingly grateful to everyone who played a part in these adventures. You guys are my tribe!

Big lesson I learned in June - When I live free of expectations, the result is a life of surprises and gratitude. I had sales goals for the Food Truck Championship - and when I didn't hit them, I sat in disappointment. Rather than CELEBRATING the awesome day I had, I was frustrated that I didn't hit an unrealistic goal. Why was it unrealistic? Cuz we almost sold out of food and there was NO WAY I would have hit that goal. Well then... why be upset? Big popcorn moment for me. Going into my next event in KY, I erased all sales goals I had and replaced them with ONE goal - HAVE FUN! And FUN we had! It was a blast and I learned SO MUCH about doing a 4 day festival off the grid while camping. Food truckin is hard - that was even harder! But we rocked it! Huge thanks to my friends Colin and Dawn for spending the week on the truck and hangin out and cookin with me. :)

Falacos crew at Playthink 2017

While we were in KY, and thanks to my Mama for helping us find the place, we took a detour before our drive home and found my family cemetery. Haven't been here since 1989. We spent some time hanging out with my grandfather (who I never met), Mamaw, and my Daddy. Ben asked me about some of my favorite memories and I shared stories. It was a surreal moment that fit perfectly with this year.

Compton family gravesite
July was hot as hell. 2nd summer with a food truck and official lesson learned - people don't like going out when it's hot. LOL.. the food truck peak seasons are definitely March-May/June and September-November. Grateful for the family trip we took in August - went up to Oregon to catch the solar eclipse in totality.  I will say this - I SOOO WANT TO DO IT AGAIN. Y'all, totality is a TOTAL TRIP and indescribable. Yes it gets dark and colder and you can see the eclipse in the shadows... and I felt funny. Prolly adrenaline and excitement, but I was kinda dizzy and shaky... it was the neatest nature thing I've ever experienced. Highly recommend you catch the next one!

2017 solar eclipse nearing totality - seen in shadows
We had an awesome time with family (thanks Dad & Ann!) on the Oregon coast and flew kites, had family meals, went to Alsea Falls, played games and combed the cold windy beach. Towards the end of the week, we learned a little hurricane had popped up in the Gulf and wouldn't ya know it - our flight home on Saturday 8/26 was cancelled. We immediately rebooked for the next available flight on Monday 8/28 (haha if you know this date) and I accepted our delay home and decided to make the most of it - took our extra day and found us another waterfall to visit! Again, thank you Anjali for the gift of staying cool in the seemingly "chaotic" opportunity - why freak out when I can go see Multnomah Falls? (Fun anecdote - Anjali visited this same waterfall earlier in the year.)

Extra day of OR vacation - Multnomah Falls
For those that know the story of Hurricane Harvey, there was no way we were flying home to Houston on Monday 8/28. The entire city was underwater at this point and more places were starting to flood due to overflowing lakes and reservoirs. The city was in a terrible state and thousands of homes and businesses had flooded - even the airport. Another great opportunity to freak out... but didn't. We ended up catching a flight to Denver, staying in Denver all day long, then flying to OKC, renting a car and driving the rest of the way home. While in Denver, we stayed glued to our phones, watching our neighborhood flood via Facebook and the pictures our neighbors were posting. Our hood went under mandatory evacuation due to the San Jacinto river flooding.. thankfully, the water made it up this high but not a single house in our hood took on water. It was incredible we were all so lucky. We finally made it home mid-day Tuesday.
Main drainage in our neighborhood, during Harvey and at normal level
The next few months were Harvey cleanup time. It was really awesome to see my fellow Farmers Insurance family pull together to relay supplies all over the state to the areas that needed them the most. I volunteered my office as a drop site and received donations from Austin and Wichita Falls and relayed them over to Beaumont, Buna and Shepherd. Falacos was able to do some work with the Red Cross and delivered meals to Little Cambodia in Rosharon, TX. The area of southeast TX that was under water is hard to fathom. It was HUGE.

Prior to Harvey, some food truck buddies and I had been talking about forming a non-profit organization for food trucks, one that would bring trucks together with a common mission - helping each other and our community. With the sudden tragedy that struck Houston, our idea was immediately put into action. Lena (Skye CafĂ©), Danielle (Jamaica Pon Di Road) and I knew Houston would need help in the months and years to come, to help recover from this massive storm. Together we formed the Women's Food Truck Organization. In the last quarter of 2017, we were able to participate in 2 great events - the Festival of Hope in Katy, hosted at Willow Fork Drainage District's Central Green Park  and in December, WFTO organized an event to take free toys and food and holiday cheer to Canyon Gate subdivision in Katy. It was a phenomenal day! WFTO will be doing more awesome events in 2018, aligning with other non-profits and raising money for great causes!

The end of 2017 has been enlightening. Benny got back on a health kick in September and it inspired me to have some bloodwork done - for the first time ever since switching to a vegan diet. I'm pleased to report that all my important stuff is in optimal ranges. :) Cholesterol 144, HDL 76, LDL 54, Trig's 70, glucose 86.. the big question for vegans - B12? Amazingly, it was only borderline low - only about 2 points - and that's without any supplements. My folate was also a smidge low and my oleic acid.. so, as per my doc's recommendation, I did a 2 week detox.

Fortunately, this detox wasn't too extreme for me, since I'd already given up most things - the only things I had to stop were fried food, all sugar and all caffeine. No coffee was rough! But I did it... did a 2 week detox over Thanksgiving and learned a LOT about myself. At the end of Thanksgiving weekend, Benny and I discovered we have a new love in the exercise department - mountain biking! We have started riding some trails and LOVE IT. Adventuring in nature and exploring the woods? All about it!

Biggest lessons from this 2 week detox? When I make a commitment and keep track of it and am accountable via a daily check in - I see success. When I plan meals and prepare by shopping appropriately and making time to prepare meals and eat them - I see success. When I look at these activities - and exercise - as rituals of self love and self care - I see success.

Over the Christmas holiday, our first year without Grandma, we decided to take a destination holiday trip outta town. Huge thanks to my mom for finding this amazing cabin in the Ozarks and for starting a new tradition. Travelling for a holiday is awesome!

Cabin in Blue Eye, MO on Table Rock Lake

Me & Ma, Christmas 2017
On the way home from this trip, I read a new book and it's opened my eyes to a reality I'm examining for myself in my own world. 2018 is gonna be the year of my life as a science experiment. The book was about ADHD and what it really is and what causes the symptoms. I've always questioned why ADHD is a thing, when it didn't exist 60+ years ago and what has changed so much? This book answered MANY questions for me and gotten me to look at my own life and my own self discipline.

Huge take away for me? My relationship with television and what purpose it serves in my life. My relationship with my Facebook app, and how that serves me... or NOT. I have so many things, activities, projects, self care routines I want to start, say I want to start, but don't... and I see where I use TV and Facebook to distract me from these things. How I use mind stimulating things to zone out, relax, wind down... when they really have the opposite effect. My mind is on, ALL THE TIME, and I'm wanting to use myself as a guinea pig to check out some theories I have about my own mind stimulation and the tasks I choose to do.

2018 is going to be a year of self care. An entire year of a new practice, many activities I've picked up in the last several years, and now will be fusing them all together. Meditation, eating right, journaling/blogging, daily accountability, weekly planning of meals, workouts, work and play time, having goals and writing them down, unplugging from electronics when not work related, assessing unfinished projects and getting them done one at a time... all these activities and tools I KNOW work well for me when I use them. Time to use them all simultaneously and see what happens.

I had no intention of writing this book when I started, LOL... but obviously, I needed to brain dump the last year. And I'm leaving out a whole lot of things... I took several trips this year. Washington DC and Amsterdam in February, Chicago for Pathways in May, Burning Flipside for Memorial Day, Graham TX and Berea KY and Cincinnati OH in June, Fiesta Texas for some roller coasters, Oregon in August, Key West in November and Blue Eye MO for Christmas. I have found that I LOVE to travel and can't wait to do even more next year! I've also spent a good chunk of this year downsizing and embracing more of a minimalist lifestyle. Watched the documentary Minimalism and learned a lot about myself and my relationship to physical things. I've purged so many things from our house, it feels so much lighter already. Our next big goal - selling our land and getting a moving truck to build a tiny house in and starting our travel adventures on the road!

While 2017 was a year of death and disappointment, it was also a year of love, adventure, acceptance and hope. Lessons, gifts and opportunities around every corner, and I know 2017 was preparing me for the excitement to come in 2018. I am ready to be in the best shape I've ever been, physically stronger than ever and also loving myself more through my actions and mental self talk. 2017 was a powerful year and I'm positive 2018 is gonna blow the doors off... cuz, well... I want it to, so imma make it so. :)